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PREVIEW: Midsomer Murders - The Sting Of Death, ITV

Beautiful manor house, Apley Court, on the edge of the village of Granville Norton is home to historic hives that produce ‘Apley Gold’ honey; a valuable top of the range honey. Bee obsessive Lord of the manor AMBROSE DEDDINGTON (Griff Rhys Jones), the eighth generation of honey producers at Apley Court, is a survivor of a life-threatening cancer, for which he cites a combination of Apley Gold and bee venom from his famous bees as his saviour.

And with the unyielding support of his sister TAMARA (Imogen Stubbs), his faith in its extraordinary healing power has brought Ambrose success, wealth and a dedicated following of Apitherapy devotees. For years now Ambrose has maintained his status as top dog of the village, with his wealth and aristocratic title ensuring his position.

But that position comes under threat when he and his precious hives are attacked by a masked assailant. BARNABY (Neil Dudgeon) and WINTER (Nick Hendrix) are called in to investigate, with Ambrose convinced that the only person of interest should be his nephew JUDE (Jack Fox), who was outlawed from the family pile years ago with his mother MELISSA (Jacquetta May). Jude protests his innocence – he has no concern with Ambrose’s hives, he has his own enterprise making home-brewed mead, and anyway he’s far too busy caring for his mother whose mental health is starting to decline.

Whilst Ambrose sticks to the traditional methods of bee husbandry and honey making, his entrepreneurial sister Tamara has been busy making an empire over at ‘The Hive’; a honey themed wellness centre and yoga studio. Having heard about the great yoga classes they hold, SARAH BARNABY (Fiona Dolman) heads over there to sign herself and a very reluctant Barnaby up for a trial class where she meets heart throb yoga instructor NOAH MOON (Ben Starr).

He’s become a victim of his own success and his classes are always fully booked… mostly by his many admirers which seem to include Tamara and her PR guru CAL (Aaron Anthony). HANNAH (Nina Toussant-White), Vicar NIGEL BROOKTHORPE’s (Derek Griffiths) daughter, returns from a year abroad and is quick to hear of Noah’s overbooked classes.

Immediately she suggests that he holds them in the church instead; she knows church attendance is at an all time low and that the income would really help the church and her father. With the increase of space, Barnaby and Sarah are off of the waiting list and Barnaby finds himself less than comfortable with Noah’s very hands-on method of teaching.

The class takes a turn for the dramatic when Nigel bursts into the hall and demands that the yogi ‘heathens’ get out of the church, outraged to discover that his Parish has been used for such new age worship. Barnaby doesn’t have time to recover when he learns that village Doctor SERENA (Renee Castle) has been found dead on the village green, her head and neck entirely covered in bees. FLEUR (Annette Badland) discovers that she had in fact been hit on the head and then covered in ‘swarm lure’ – an elixir that is used to lure bees.

It looks like someone was trying to send a message, and the pressure is on to work out from who and why before the killer has a chance to strike again…

Midsomer Murders returns Sunday 21st March at 8pm on ITV.


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